World War Two Vets Share Memories And Renew Friendships - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/28/04

World War Two Vets Share Memories And Renew Friendships

They transported troops to the front lines during the invasion of Normandy during World War Two.

This week, surviving members of the 407th troop carrier group association are sharing military memories and renewing friendships at a reunion in Biloxi.

The veterans are sharing war stories at their 32nd reunion. They survived some of the military's most dangerous moments.

"Those tracer bullets would come right by you. And it looked like every one was going to hit you, but they'd go right by," one veteran recalled.

"These were pilots, you see that's the navigator and this is the crew chief," said Lewis Shank, as he pointed to an old black and white photo of an aircraft crew.

Dozens of the aging warriors are attending, reaching back and re living defining moments of history.

"When we knew we had real bad wounded, we had a nurse along. We had the first flying nurses. Then we'd bring them back on the stretchers," said Shank.

Those attending the 32nd reunion appreciate it more than ever. Their numbers are dwindling.

"Yeah, we stayed in touch with each other until we lost him here awhile back," said one vet, as he pointed to a picture of a late buddy.

"You know, it's kind of like a family really. In fact, I suppose you're probably closer to some of the guys than you were family," said Bill Fasking of Gulfport.

Flipping through scrapbooks, the men share many pleasant memories. But they also recall the horrors of war.

"They had this bulldozer making this long ditch. And they were putting in truck loads of bodies," said Shank.

Those kinds of images help further unite the band of military brothers; these elderly freedom fighters from the so called "greatest genera ton".

"There was a lot of historic actions taken," said one of the men.

About 110 men and their wives are attending this year's reunion in Biloxi. They used to hold reunions every two years, but the gathering is now an annual affair.

By Steve Phillips

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